In the early months of 2000, the U.S. labor force participation rate reached its peak of 67.3%, but then steadily declined in the mid-2000s and plummeted when the recession hit. The sharp decline was attributed to the lack of labor demand during the crisis and immediately thereafter, but in recent years, the U.S. has experienced solid job growth as the labor force participation rate continues to fall – in June 2016 the rate stood at 62.7%. Carmel Ford, of the National Association of Home Builders’ Eye on Hosuing blog, explores why.
Since 2007, about two-thirds of the percentage point decline can be attributed to retiring Boomers. Although the rate declined for both prime age men and women (ages 25 to 54), men left the labor force at almost double the rate of women between 2007 and 2016.
Also, a recent study by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) shows that men with lower levels of educational attainment have been leaving the labor force. The report suggests that this group may be leaving because of lower wages and higher wage inequality.